I ran across this article, The Porcelain Argument: How would the existence of magic affect technological advancement?, on Sunday. I very much enjoyed it and it is in line with my thinking of how a high magic setting would function.
My campaign is, for humans, a now low magic setting because the ancient empire collapsed a thousand or more years ago and much ancient magical knowledge was “lost”.
Reading this article had me nodding my head in agreement.
I highly recommend it to help set the tone of your campaign’s magic and technology levels.
One interesting thought, would those who could not afford magic invest in fancy technology to try to mimic magic in an effort to appear to be in a higher social status? Hidden mechanisms for an elevator or lift, some way of igniting a light, etc.
This reminds me of a History Channel show some years ago about ancient inventors who made temple devices to make certain items in the temple move or act on their own, with wheels, pulleys, or primitive steam power. One I believe was a holy water dispenser for a coin donation. Another had a dove or other bird “fly” across the sanctuary. In a world where clerical and druidical magic is not lost other than turning from the gods or nature, how would temple technology be different from the rest of society? However, in a societal collapse, the precise applications for certain spells might be lost, if the central hierarchy of a faith was lost.
This all helps to highlight the questions: What remnants of the ancient civilization are still in use? What remnants of it are still visible? What devices both magical and non-magical might adventurers discover? Would any such devices be “set loose” and go on a rampage, or cause other mischief?
In a sandbox setting, one does not have to have all these answers until the players come close to finding them. I have a few things thought out, but as for mundane items, I have not given it much thought. This has definitely given me food for thought and started the wheels turning.